September 17, 2012
Thanks to a five-year, $286,000 grant awarded to AIDS Community Resources (ACR), HIV-positive residents can receive extra help in eating more nutritiously. The Syracuse, NY-based agency announced September 7 that it has received federal money directed to the New York Department of Health's AIDS Institute to fund "Nutrition Health Education and Food and Meal Services for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS." This is a 15-county effort to improve overall health and nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS. ACR Executive Director Michael E. Crinnin stated that this was the last piece of an overall effort to build up support services for poor people who do not have access to nutritious foods. He stated that even for others who already have that access, certain foods may not mix well with HIV/AIDS medications. With this five-year grant, the agency will be able to develop a food pantry with the capability of delivering food packages specific to each person's need in respective counties. The grant also funds group educational sessions, nutritional assessments, and food vouchers, at a maximum of $100 per month per person, according to Mr. Crinnin. Two nutritionists have been hired for this program. The goal is for people with HIV/AIDS to graduate from the program with a better understanding and knowledge of how to live healthier with their disease, states ACR's Director of Support Services, Jeanette B. O'Connor-Shanley. She also stated that good nutrition is important in building a healthy immune system, and that the key to treatment is better nutrition and good food. People living with HIV/AIDS do not have to become clients of other ACR-related programs, but they must show proof of their diagnosis.
ACR also announced that beginning with September the program includes group training sessions, personalized fitness scripts, and nutrition information. The goal is participation in ACR's First Frost AIDS Walk/Run on Oct. 14.